You say Ferrara, or Ferrero

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Ferrara Candy Company, a major Forest Park property tax payer, employer and benefactor for more than a century, is back in the hands of a major candy company, which is talking about growing its brands and committing to its factory in Forest Park.

Five years after the company was purchased by an investment banking firm from its founding family, after it was merged and merged again with other candy-making firms, it is a relief to hear that Alba, Italy-based Ferrero Group will soon complete its Ferrara purchase.

Ferrara Pan Candy has been an anchor of Forest Park. And while L Catterton has been a better owner than might have been expected, we're excited to see candy-centric owners who see Ferrara as an integral part of its major expansion into the American candy market.

This is exceptionally good news for Forest Park.

Proud and happy

OK, here's this week's list of why it is a good thing to be a Forest Parker:

When an Oct. 14 fire burned out the family of Field-Stevenson School fourth-grader Erick Ortega, the school community, and the wider Forest Park community went into high gear. 

Money was raised by students at the school. Families turned up with suitcases of clothes. The word spread to the district office and the other District 91 schools who undertook their own generous giving.

"We teach altruism at Field-Stevenson," said Tiffany Brunson, the principal. "We have raised money for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico and Texas. We collected diapers, batteries and water for the hurricane victims. We've raised money for students who have lost their parent. We're collecting socks for the homeless."

Those are values worth teaching our children. And from Crystal Lewis, Erick Ortega's mom, those are values that build true community. "It makes you feel you're not alone. It's a huge comfort," she said.

Once again, Forest Park's own Silverland Bakery is looking for nonprofits that work to empower women and girls. There is a $2,000 grant waiting to find a home due to the ongoing passion of Athena Uslander, the bakery's longtime owner. 

Ms. Uslander was the recipient of such outreach a number of years ago when Unilever, the owner of Dove soap, chose her to be a model and spokesperson to talk about aging, self-esteem and entrepreneurialism. These scholarships, funded directly out of the Desplaines Avenue bakery, are her effort to pay it forward.

Meanwhile at Proviso Township high schools, here are two affirming stories: 

 Anahi Soto, a junior at Proviso East, was chosen to perform before a sold-out performance (are there any other kind?) of Hamilton at the CIBC Theater in Chicago. She read a poem she had written related to the Bill of Rights and American freedoms.

 And Janet Buenrostro, a Proviso East freshman, became the first East athlete in more than 35 years to qualify for the IHSA state tennis tournament. That is some accomplishment.

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